25/03/08 - New project in the pipeline.
There is at last news of a new project on the distant horizon. Initial discussions have taken place with the National Trust, who are interested in Genius Loci doing a project at one of their sites in Derbyshire. At present they are themselves working towards a closer relationship with the Arts Council, (why does that sound familiar?). If this were to develop, it would play perfectly for us of course as the National Trust have so much property which would be perfect for the Genius Loci process.
At present the proposed date would be september 09, quite a way off yet. However, the site in question has stunning views (reputed to stretch from Lincoln cathedral to the Shropshire Wrekin), a fair bit of story, history and probably prehistory. It is also an interesting focus for a community of people who come from far and wide to visit, and for the local community who use it regularly for their own pleasure. Environmentally it is unusual and contains its own special community of wildlife. So it ticks all the boxes necessary for Genius Loci work - land which has challenged and channelled humanity while remaining relatively unchanged itself.
Discussions are also under way to share the impact of the project with some wonderful local woods which would be ideal for arts workshops and all kinds of other woodsy arts activities.
On another subject, the book and DVD of the Creswell Crags project are both now finished and have been giving many people enjoyment for quite a while now. If you would like a copy please email email@example.com. Both are available, postage free, at £10 each, but there aren't many left now, so it might be as well to be quick if you want one.
14/05/07 - Printing and DVD approach completion.
At last, many moons after the actual Creswell project, the book is at Midland Printers in Alfreton, being printed. The proofs looked beautiful and we hope to be able to distribute free copies of the finished article soon to all those who participated. It will be printed in a limited run of 250, and can be purchased at £10 including postage, by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 64-page perfect-bound book contains a mixture of photographic shots catching the essence of the various elements of the trail and the site itself, combined with comments from the staff who were working there at the time, and members of the Genius Loci team. It provides a rich interface between the creative impressions of the artists and the more longterm views of the staff and local residents.
The DVD will also be ready soon, from the same contact, and provides wonderful live evidence of the trail, some of the work that led up to it, and comments from the team, the staff and the public. As a work of art itself, the DVD captures perhaps more even than the book, of the atmosphere and the excitement, through the sounds and movements of the footage. This too will be available at £10 from email@example.com
Postponement of international work.
Sadly, the major project which was to last two years and involve artists from the UK, Spain, Croatia and Finland, has had to be postponed, for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most important is that the Arts Council has had its lottery funding slashed by 35%, due to funds being syphoned off to pay for the 2012 Olympic Games. As a result, they are only funding 1 year projects at the moment, and the entire project therefore has to be rethought.
Our partners abroad have expressed an interest in being involved in the future when the project reshapes and moves forward again, and we look forward to exploring that potential. Till then, we are looking for interest from more local areas, as we have such a lot of creative skill to offer to the right clients. In the meantime the individual artists in the team are following their own independent careers and keeping busy all round the country.
07/11/06 - International Relationships
News from the Genius Loci drawing board is that two arts teams from different ends of Europe have expressed an interest in collaborating with us in a transnational arts project which will hopefully start in Oct 07 and last for a couple of years. This would involve travel to Finland and Spain, and we hope to include a third country, possibly the Czech Republic.
So far the Finnish contingent includes Samuli, who is a world musician and producer, and Ulla Pirttijarvi, who is actually not Finnish but Sami. She is both a renowned exponent of the 'Joik' style of singing traditionally used by the Sami people to celebrate any aspect of their surroundings and an accomplished recording musician mixing this unique vocal style with appropriate cutting edge music technology.
Interest has also been expressed by the Taller Spiral theatre, project and workshop organisation from the Rioja area of Northern Spain, who already have a track record creating participatory and community theatre at local archaeological sites. Members of the group also work in theatre in London and across Europe.
We are lucky to have attracted the interest of such well qualified artists and look forward to working through the lengthy planning stages and then actually getting down to work together. A theme of water, (or ice or drought!) has been suggested by our own close proximity to the U.K. Peak District, with its profusion of springs, streams, rivers and pools, its water-carved landscape and its evolving water management policies. There is so much material here for educational as well as artistic application that it seems a very rich and fertile subject to be looking at, as well as fitting closely within Genius Loci's ethos of working with the natural elements of our landscape.
In the meantime the book of the arts trail at Creswell is slowly taking shape in preparation for printing, and the footage of the trail is also being prepared ready for posting on this site before too long.
14/9/2006 - Genius Loci in the Peak District National Park.
Following a meeting with Arts In the Peak, further interest has been expressed by officers working within the Peak Park organisation, in discussion on including Genius Loci ideas in various strands of the Peak Park's future plans. This is an exciting possibility, and would open up all sorts of opportunities for us to apply our skills and enhance the environmental work of the Peak Park. Early days yet, but signs are positive.
5/9/2006 - Arts Trail at Creswell.
Following months of preparation, the artwork generated by Genius Loci was finally open to the public in the form of an Arts Trail at Creswell Crags over the weekend of August Bank Holiday, 2006.
Despite very indifferent weather forecasts, four of the six trails were fully booked and the other two respectably full, added to which the Crags was humming with people just there for the day who were able to dip in and out, making surprise discoveries round every corner. We have yet to hear official figures but we estimate that 130 people booked on the trails, (which were limited anyway due to limits on people entering the caves) and that at least 300 more people saw most of the static elements of the trail.
Early feedback has been almost universally positive, and we have yet to go through the comments which were written on the back of the trail guides. All of the elements of the trail were captured on video, and stills and edited versions of this footage, together with sounds and some of the music, will be posted on this site as soon as possible.
A great team spirit evolved within the Genius Loci artists' community, much excellent work was generated and some interesting collaborations ensued. Hopefully the event will be talked about for a long time to come, both as a thought provoking and sometimes challenging experience, (both for us and our audiences!) and as a good memory of a skilled creative team happily fulfilling itself by doing what it does best - creating artwork.